News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.
Stateline: States Save By Moving Vets From Medicaid's Rolls To VA's
A growing number of states are shifting health care costs to the federal government by finding military veterans who receive Medicaid and signing them up for medical benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Arizona, California and Texas are among the states that are working to replicate a program first launched in Washington State. That program, begun in 2003, has moved some 9,500 veterans from the state's Medicaid rolls to the VA's (Prah, 7/18).
The New York Times: States' Money Woes Show No Favorites
Arizona began cutting more than 100,000 people from its Medicaid rolls this month. ... Connecticut sent layoff warnings last week to state troopers. The governors who gathered here over the weekend for the summer meeting of the National Governors Association have all been scathed by the unpopular things they have had to do to keep their budgets in balance. For the veterans, it was just the latest in a series of tough years. For the rookies — 29 new governors took office this year — it was their first taste of state budget battle. ... For Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, a Democrat, one of the hardest cuts he made was closing a mental health center on the state’s Eastern Shore that he said had helped many vulnerable people (Cooper, 7/17).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Home Care Cutbacks Put Strain On Elderly
Born with cerebral palsy, Jennifer McPhail relies on a home health aide to help her get dressed for work and ready for bed at night. ... She now fears deep reductions in the state's Medicaid spending will prevent her from living independently. It's a concern facing families across the nation as states with budget deficits cut home health services that help keep the elderly and disabled out of nursing homes. States are reducing how much time a nurse can spend making house calls and ending meal deliveries for the homebound (Seewer and Mohajer, 7/17).
San Francisco Chronicle: Adult Day Health Care Centers Fight For Life
The fate of about 300 centers that serve tens of thousands of frail, elderly and disabled Californians remains uncertain more than six months after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed eliminating the $169 million-a-year program to help solve the budget crisis. Brown's administration is moving forward with plans to transition 37,000 low-income, disabled and elderly adults off Adult Day Health Care, a program they depend on for medical care, physical therapy, exercise, counseling, socialization and other support. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Legislature have worked for months to come up with an alternative (Lagos, 7/17).
Des Moines Register: Rural-Urban Health Insurance Cost Disparity Rises
A disparity is growing between rural and urban Iowa in the cost, quality and availability of employer-based health insurance. Rural workers must devote a higher percentage of their income to health insurance than urban workers even as they pay higher -- and growing -- deductibles, the annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study shows. Rural employers are less likely than urban firms to offer health insurance at all. The study, conducted by David P. Lind & Associates in Clive and published by the University of Iowa College of Public Health, also projects alarming increases in health care premiums and deductibles over the next decade for Iowa's rural and urban workers (Belz, 7/16).